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Multiple Broncos chime in on who they want the team to draft

Zac Stevens Avatar
April 24, 2018

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Football players are, in fact, humans too.

Despite the millions of dollars and fame, most of them are just like every other football fan when the end of April rolls around—they can’t get their mind off the draft.

“Do I pay attention to the draft,” Von Miller asked rhetorically just days before the draft, seemingly bewildered by the question. “That’s just part of the National Football League. It’s kind of hard not to pay attention to the draft. You’ve got the playoffs, you’ve got the Super Bowl, and you’ve got free agency. Then you’ve got the draft.”

Outside of actual sporting events themselves, the draft is by far the biggest sports spectacle in the entire country year in and year out.

“We talk about [the draft] all of the time,” Chris Harris Jr. said with a big smile on Tuesday. “That’s what you do; you talk football when you come to work.”

So yes, NFL players themselves do in fact care and pay attention to the draft, specifically for their team. When it comes to the Denver Broncos, there hasn’t been this much hype surrounding a draft since John Elway’s first draft in which he snatched up Von Miller with the No. 2 overall pick in 2011.

While that former No. 2 overall pick — and current face of the franchise — has “all the faith” in the “Hall of Fame quarterback leading the organization” whichever direction Elway goes in the draft, make no doubt about it that Von has a few favorites in mind.

“I would love to have him on my team,” Miller said when asked about defensive end Bradley Chubb. “He’s Khalil Mack, and Von Miller put together (laughing)… You don’t come across guys like that often. Having the No. 5 pick in the draft, I hope we don’t have a high pick like that for a while. If we could steal a player like that, I’m all for it.”

Another player Miller specifically mentioned by name and would be “cool with” was running back Saquon Barkley. But heck, unlike a sizable amount of Broncos Country, if the Broncos trade the No. 5 overall pick away, Miller would be fine with that too.

While on the surface, the “trust in Elway” vibe floating around the UCHealth Training Center — and even specifically mentioned by Todd Davis on Tuesday — seems like just the company line.

However, just one year ago many Broncos players were making a not-so-subtle campaign for the team to draft Colorado native Christian McCaffrey.

One of the players leading that campaign was Chris Harris Jr. On Tuesday, the veteran cornerback, and one of the most influential leaders on the team, started another campaign.

“Someone who is going to come in and play. We need someone who is going to come in and play now,” he emphasized when asked who he wants the team to draft on Thursday. “Whether that be Barkley, Chubb, [Quenton Nelson]  — one of those three guys. We know those guys can come in and play right now.”

Just to make sure Harris didn’t mince his words, he was pressed further: Not a quarterback?

“Not a quarterback right now, I would say,” he said, not afraid to speak his mind. “We are trying to win now. We don’t have time for that.”

If Elway doesn’t take Harris’ advice and does, in fact, draft a quarterback with the No. 5 pick, the team’s current starting quarterback would roll with it just like he would roll with any pick.

“It would be the same thoughts as anybody that comes in. I’m excited for whoever comes in,” Case Keenum said, tiptoeing around talking about his potential replacement. “It’s going to make us better. That’s what competition breeds within your own team. I think it makes you better. Whoever comes in, I’ll be looking for them to help us be a better football team.”

It’s no surprise a current veteran player wouldn’t — and outwardly isn’t — pounding the table for a quarterback in the first round — especially Keenum — since a quarterback likely won’t help the team immediately. Instead, that move would be a pick for the next decade and beyond.

Whoever it is, the expectations for the No. 5 overall pick will be mighty high the instant Elway turns in the draft card.

“When you pick a Top-5 pick you expect those guys to play for 10 years and be a Pro Bowler for a couple of years,” Harris said frankly.

With two days until the pick is revealed, all eyes outside the building remain on the quarterback position, while inside the building the same can’t necessarily be said. At least within the locker room, that is.


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